Building on the success of projects in Chicago and Portland, PeacePlayers International has launched a new Leadership Development Program in the Washington metropolitan area in partnership with adidas Basketball. This pilot program is bringing together young people to gain practical conflict transformation skills, develop friendships, and positively impact their communities.
In May, 16 outstanding freshman from 13 DC public and private high schools were selected as DC Fellows. Throughout the summer, DC Fellows participated in weekly trainings to build their leadership skills and prepare them to work with PPI’s program in Israel.
“PeacePlayers not only taught me ways I can be an effective leader, they gave me the opportunity to meet amazing young leaders who use basketball to make peace all over the world. Because of my experience with PeacePlayers, I am starting my sophomore year as a school leader along with the lifelong friends I made both from Israel and around the DC area.” – Hannah Y, DC Fellow
In August, thanks to the U.S. Department of State’s SportsUnited Program, the cohort had the unique opportunity to travel to Israel to engage with and learn from PPI’s veteran Israeli and Palestinian participants while also visiting important historical and cultural sites. After returning home, the students began putting their new skills into action while leading a variety of service projects in their communities, including mentoring local underserved youth.
“This amazing program provided my daughter with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel to Israel and meet kids who have grown up in an environment filled with conflict and violence, and see first hand how through the sport of basketball they got to know each other, play together as a team and in the process developed meaningful friendships. This very rewarding experience has no doubt shaped my daughter’s perspective about herself and the world in which we all live.” – Joan K, DC Fellow Parent
PPI will continue to work with the DC Fellows throughout the school year, supporting them as they become community leaders. In March 2016, the DC Fellows will welcome a group of PPI’s Israeli and Palestinian participants to Washington, DC for the second half of the U.S. Department of State exchange. To stay up to date on this new program, please follow us on social media!